The CIA: A brief history
by Yuno Hu
reprinted from IndyMedia

The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.

Herman Goering at the Nuremberg Trial

In 1953, the CIA conducted its first major covert operation — to overthrow Iran's legitimate president, Mohammed Mossadeq.

Mr. Mossadeq had made the mistake other world leaders have paid dearly for: he decided to nationalize his country's oil industry, a resource controlled at the time by foreign companies.

Enter the Dulles brothers — John and Allen. John Foster was the US Secretary of State, while Allen was, you guessed it, the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. It would be no exaggeration to say, the Dulles' were the founding architects of post-war US foreign policy.

Eisenhower approved their plot to overthrow Iran's president by organizing mobs to attack the government, beginning a bloody war that finally toppled Mossadeq and allowed the installation of the Shah, who, big surprise, handed over half the country's oil fields to US oil mobsters.

Over the next 20 years, the other arm of the US military-industrial oiligarchy dumped $18 billion worth of armaments into the country, and the CIA, through SAVAK — the Iranian secret police — launched a reign of terror on the civilian population. In 1976, Amnesty International said SAVAK had the worst human rights record on the planet, their CIA-textbook torture techniques were "beyond belief."

In 1979, with nothing left to lose, the Iranian people rose up and overthrew the Shah. They got Ayatollah Khomeini, in exchange.

And we know how much those events got Uncle Sam's red white and blue boxers in a twist. So the blundering CIA went to work again. This time backing the guy next door, Saddam Hussein.

From its inception, the shadowy American "intelligence" network has shown up everywhere corporate profits, especially those of the powerful US oil barons, have been at risk, operating under the cloak of democracy but leaving fingerprints that match the bloody hands of the plutocrats.

Right after WW II, as the Russians expanded their sphere of influence in Central and Eastern Europe, an elite group of industrialists and shadowy bureaucrats got together to influence the direction of US foreign policy. They hired out-of-work Nazis — people like Klaus Barbi, the Butcher of Leon — to form a subversive gang of spies and dirty operatives.

In 1947, President Truman signed the National Security Act. It changed the thrust of US foreign policy, through the National Security Council and it's operational arm, the CIA.

In a controversial 1987 documentary called The Secret Government, respected journalist and former-special assistant to Lyndon B. Johnson, Bill Moyers described this national security state as "an interlocking network of official functionaries, spies, mercenaries, ex-generals, profiteers and super-patriots" carrying on lawless covert wars for personal profit.

For over 50 years, the US has been waging what has been described by ex-CIA agents like John Stockwell, the highest ranking agent to go public, as a Third World war, a continuous terrorist destabilization of developing countries that have no ability to strike back in any meaningful way (until recently, that is).

The 1975 Church Committee, the first government investigation to officially peer into the murky world of the CIA, estimated 900 major operations and 3,000 minor operations over the previous 14 years. John Stockwell (who ran the CIA's Angola operation) says the numbers extrapolate to 3,000 major ops and 10,000 minor ones over the life of the agency. The human carnage of "the third bloodiest war in history" is estimated at 6 million souls.

The CIA's Phoenix Operation, that was responsible for escalation of the Vietnam war also began in 1954, using the same methods as in Iran, creating S. Vietnam's secret police that dished out the most feral slaughter: live burnings, garroting, rape, torture, sabotage. Ralph McGehee is another CIA agent who re-discovered his conscience and has written about his part in the operation, describing himself now as "nearly insane" during his time with the agency. Then there was the fake Gulf of Tonkin incident invented by President Lyndon B. Johnson to expand the operation, and the rest is, as they say, history.

The US/CIA regime was becoming the most demonic cult of greed and destruction that the world has ever witnessed. Its prime operators were: Theodore Shackley, Thomas Climes, Gen. John Singlaub, Gen. Richard Secord, Albert Hakim.

Shakley and Climes were ideological right wing warmongers, involved (with the Dulles bros.) in the Bay of Pigs debacle, the failed invasion of Cuba. Shakley also played part in that other September 11 (1973) invasion of Chile, that culminated in the assassination of Salvador Allende. Shakley was rewarded by George Bush Sr. (CIA director 1976-7) with position of Assistant Director of Operations. Climes worked under Shakley as Case Officer. Singlaub worked with Climes and Shakley in Vietnam, running secret offensives into Laos. Secord, supervised Laos air operations. Albert Hakim was a salesman for US weapons companies, who would later figure in Iran Contra. A real team of patriots!

These people scooped tonnes of weapons out of the theatre of war in SE Asia. Laos, in particular, was a kind of private war, instigated and supplied by this cartel of bloodthirsty murderers and war profiteers.

They turned next to Latin America, imperialist America's favourite playground.

Of course, you are familiar with that other 1954 (busy times!) CIA plot, in Guatemala. Jacobo Arbenz was the hapless "socialist" there. Again, a moderate, hugely popular president, elected in a democratic election, beating out a corrupt American puppet. But he made two fatal mistakes: First, he allowed a small communist party to remain. Second, he undertook land reform in a country where 3% of the citizenry owned 70% of the land. He turned over 1.5 million acres, including his own family's estate, to starving peasants. Much of the land was (unused and duly compensated) acreage owned by the American United Fruit Company (Chiquita), in which the Dulles Bros. held stock. When rag-tag CIA "rebels" pouring over the border from Honduras (later staging ground for the Contras) failed, the CIA used their own planes to bomb the Capital. Bye, bye, Mr. Arbenz; hello 30 years of bloody torture and suffering: "Operation Success."

These were heady times for the agency. People like Richard Bissel, CIA chief of covert operations, oversaw the Executive Action Branch, essentially an assassination squad (closed after the Church Committee revelations, re-constituted, it would appear by this weeks announcement of the intention to knock off saddam Hussein) But even Bissel, a cold-hearted, cold war warrior, got queasy over recruitment of Mafia goons like, John Rosselli, Sam Giancana and Santo Trafficante.

"The United States is a peace-loving nation and our foreign policy is designed to lessen the threat of war as well as aggression."

Gerald Ford on appointing George H.W. Bush CIA director, on Jan. 30, 1976

Latin America's death squad leaders were trained right in the US, at Fort Benning, Georgia's School of the Americas. It's too sickening to describe the tidal wave of blood these bastards unleashed, so I'll chose just one date, one place: Dec. 11, 1981, El Mazote.

During Vice President (GHW) Bush's watch (Reagan wasn't exactly awake) a dozen US-backed paramilitary troops rounded up the inhabitants of this small, El Salvadorian village and gunned them down. The mass grave yielded 900 men, women and children. 131 children under 12 years, three infants under three months. One woman, Rufina Amaya, survived by scrambling under nearby bushes as her children screamed: "Mama, they're killing us." Ten of the 12 murderers were recent graduates of the School of the Americas.

This was the way it was (and still is) in much of Latin America. Edgar Chamoro, recruited by the CIA to lead the Contras has admitted: "We were used to deceive the American people . . . . The tactics of the Contras was to terrorize the Nicaraguan people."

The Iran Contra investigations again revealed the mayhem at the heart of America. Bush Sr. never did answer questions regarding contact between his aides and Contra operatives. Congressman Jack Brooks of Texas summed up by saying: "We've been supplying weapons to terrorist nations [actually terrorist cells trained by the US and inserted into sovereign nations], trading arms for hostages, involving the US government in military activities in direct contravention of the law, diverting public funds into private pockets and secret unofficial activities, selling access to the president for thousands of dollars, dispensing cash and foreign money orders out of a White House safe, accepting gifts and falsifying papers to cover it up, altering and shredding national security documents and lying to the Congress.

"Now, I believe that the American people understand that democracy cannot survive that kind of abuse."

In fact, it hadn't. In spite of grandstanding congressional investigations (that indicted no-one), democracy had long since expired, particularly for the victims of this renegade terrorist regime. The people who erased democracy — the fascists and their cadre of blood-soaked gangsters — had already usurped the military-industrial architecture of the most powerful nation on earth to serve their own aquisitive agenda.

"Just imagine," Bill Moyers mused, in 1987, "that [then-CIA director] William Casey's dream came true; suppose the enterprise grew into a super-secret, self-financing, self-perpetuating organization." That organization is now the most brazen, rogue death squad on earth, pursuing their promised "full-spectrum dominance" over this benighted, suffering planet, even as the larger part (70% if we are to believe the polls) of their zombie-like subjects believe they are the divine protectors of truth and freedom.

Elite executioners operate at the apex of the renewed Bush family dynasty. Dubyah, as he is fondly referred to by the fully- mesmerized, is really a bit of a flunky figurehead, with dad's most trusted fixer, Dick Cheney, at the helm and other weapons of mass destruction traders, like James Baker III, occupying critical seats around the boardroom table.

The US hasn't actually declared an authentic war since 1941, but (besides Afghanistan — Operation Make It Safe For Unocal the most disgusting phoney war in recent memory (for those who have one) was George Bush Sr's 1989 invasion of Panama, the subject of an Academy Award-winning documentary film: The Panama Deception. All to cover his slimy CIA relationship with (SOA grad) Manuel Noriega. Thousands of civilians were slaughtered and bulldozed into mass graves by US troops. Show this lovely record of Bush family entertainment to your relatives, if Ashcroft hasn't hunted down every copy in the land and had a bonfire. You'll love the scene where the graves are opened.

But, back to Iraq and the "Hitlerian" Saddam Hussein. The Bush oil/weapons cartel created the man. Not that he isn't a bad actor (not as bad as Bozo Reagan, though his recent cabbage role is Oscar material), but without the billions of dollars and millions of tonnes of military hardware, chemical and biological agents lavished on him by US arms manufacturers, Saddam would be just another strutting demagogue.

The US corporate security state created the Saddam Frankenstein, and when it suited their purpose they tempted him into their trap and demonized him. Just like the mujahedeen, one day you're a "freedom fighter," the next day an "evildoer."

Iraq wanted Kuwait to help drive the price of oil up, to pay its massive Iran war debt. Kuwait wasn't playing, even though it had, from Hussein's point of view, been protected from Iranian invaders by Iraq. In 1990, (commenting on his threat to claim the long-disputed Kuwait territory, delineated by the Brits, in 1922/23.) US Ambassador to Iraq April Glaspie said to Saddam: "We have no opinion on your Arab-Arab conflicts, such as your dispute with Kuwait. Secretary (of State James) Baker has directed me to emphasize the instruction, first given to Iraq in the 1960's, that the Kuwait issue is not associated with America."

Then, in went (arms dealer) Baker (posing as Secretary of State) in the final charade prior to sending in "Stormin'" Norman Schwartzkopf. Running the show, of course, was present Vice President Dick Cheney, (then Secretary of "Defense") who in the interim went back to the oil industry, as CEO of Halliburton Oil, built a pipeline through Burma with SLORC's slave labour pool (very "flexible") and — his big coup — amalgamated Brown & Root, (the company that elected Pres. Johnson, who then rewarded them with military contracts), that now provides "discrete services" to the oil & gas industry, right down to mess tents and meals, for the new mercenary armies of the 21st century oil barons.

The Gulf War ghouls hired the Bush buddy public relations firm Hill & Knowlton to cook up a modern-day Gulf of Tonkin outrage to stir up patriotism. The "incident" was Iraqi devils tossing babies out of incubators in a Kuwait hospital.

Except it was a total lie.

Not long after the end of the world's biggest arms industry ad campaign in the desert, Bill Moyers' After the War documentary told the true story.

The blubbering Kuwaiti girl, who delivered the tale on CNN — repeated by George Bush in subsequent speeches — turned out to be the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the US, coached in her acting role by Hill & Knowlton's propagandists.

Now, if you really want to weigh the balance of evil deeds (not counting the estimated half million dead Iraqi children, victims of the sanctions) check out (gag warning) what appears to be the legacy of those trusty depleted uranium shells Bush, Baker (Carlyle Group) and their excellent weapons designers lobbed into Iraq in quantities unparalleled in the history of modern warfare.

So, what did else did the Desert Storm blow in? Here is a transcript of a good old Larry King Live interview, on CNN a few years back:

Larry King: Why do you think Americans want to keep the sanctions?

Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz: That's their policy. It's against the will of the international community. . . . I think they are making profits. But I don't want to make accusations.

LK: Financial profits?

TA: Yes

LK: Like how?

TA: Who's selling oil instead of Iraq?

LK: Who?

TA: They know very well that Saudi Arabia jumped from 5 million barrels a day to 8 million barrels a day. Three million barrels — Iraq's share — has been added to the share of Saudi Arabia.

LK: And we would take this to a war front to protect Saudi Arabia's making money?

TA: No. You are sharing that money — Everybody knows it.

Everybody, that is, who hasn't had a painless Hill & Knowlton lobotomy.

Perhaps, though, the Big Oil Gangsters aren't quite as smart as they used to be. Or maybe their tired old MO just doesn't wash anymore. The recent clumsy, Keystone Cops coup in oil-rich Venezuela would be a joke, were it not for the blood spilled on the streets of Caracas. As it is, the CIA's bloody fingerprints are all over it:

A group of "freedom fighters" rise up against "a ruinous demagogue" (to quote a hilarious New York Times editorial), who has been funneling his country's oil profits into silly social development programs. He unleashes his goons on "the people." The military (whose leaders happen to be SOA grads) oust him and. . . guess what? They install a "respected business leader" (again, NYT's words) as president, who happens to be an oil industry executive.

This time though, the CIA hadn't prepared the ground well enough, and the people — the real people — rose up and drove America's puppet out of the palace and cheered and danced in the streets as their kidnapped President, Hugo Chvez, returned triumphantly to the capital.

So, what to make of the Washington Post article last weekend, announcing a Bush administration directive to the CIA to eliminate Saddam Hussein, using "lethal force," if necessary? The story, written by veteran Washington correspondent Bob Woodward (Watergate reporter and author of The Secret Wars of the CIA) was obviously a deliberate plant by the increasingly desperate plutocrats. Whatever its purpose, given a little history, subterfuge can no longer cover the obvious (and need I add depraved?) agenda of Big Oil.

In addition to the documentaries mentioned above, for more information on issues covered in this essay, see also: